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Australia Software The Courts The Internet Technology

In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods" 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-it's-pirated-right dept.
bennyboy64 writes "A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of 'goods' has been upheld in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the Internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act, reports ZDNet. It's a court decision that lawyer Patrick Gunning said attorneys had been waiting to have clarified for some time. What this meant was that 'people who purchase software will have more legal rights if they buy over the counter rather than downloading,' Gunning said."
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In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods"

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  • Makes perfect sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:32PM (#32131830) Homepage

    Software is information—a set of instructions and related data. If pure information is not considered a good in other contexts then it makes sense that software delivered without any physical medium would not be considered a good either. Software purchased "over the counter" is not pure information, however, since you're buying the physical packaging as well as the information content.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:38PM (#32131922)

    What is their deal? Their motto seems to be "The consumer is always a criminal". It's weird.

    Well, since Australia used to be a penal colony, that kind of makes some kind of twisted sense.

    I can't remember the comedian who said this, but:

    I'd rather live in a country founded by criminals, than one founded by puritans

    Having lived in both places I totally agree with him

  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:29PM (#32132798) Homepage

    Last time I checked, electrons do have a mass, and are therefore "physical" products.

    Yes, they are. However, you're not receiving any of the specific electrons (or photons) handled by the sender. At most those electrons/photons came from your ISP, or, in the case of electrons, the wire itself. Only the abstract pattern—the information—is communicated all the way from the sender to the recipient.

    You might have a case for considering bulk electricity a physical good, however.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:40PM (#32133994)

    Exactly. As soon as you see the production of information as a service, all the problems with laws, making money from it, DRM, file sharing etc instantly vanish.

    And interestingly, most artist already do the service business model. They just don’t know it.
    They offer the service of music production to the distributors. But it’s those distributors, who then try to cram it into a business model that has no relation to physical reality.
    If the artists just start seeing the end users themselves as the “distributors”, and offer the service to them, then there simply is no problem anymore, and we’re all happy.

    (I won’t repeat the business model I designed, to make this work. But I will repeat the main rules: If you want money, demand it at the first time you pass it on. Later it’s too late, because then the one you passed it on to, can just as well give it away for free to everyone, if he does not have something to gain from keeping it a secret. And for the rest, just act like your community were your investor. From the first pitch, over the demo, to the final completion of the contract.)

  • And that is why copyright is wrong. It has nothing to do with physical reality.
    And additionally, with a business model that is also based on reality, there also is no need for it. At all.

  • Re:You are correct (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:29AM (#32137296) Homepage

    An interesting tax principle. The Australian GST is a federal value added tax http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_and_Services_Tax_(Australia)#Economic_and_social_effects_of_the_GST [wikipedia.org] that was used to replace all state sales taxes and thus provide a simplified and uniform across the board taxation basis across all states and that even online sales within Australia now have to in affect pay sales tax. A substantive portion of GST tax income is the redistributed back to each state. This would certainly resolve a lot of internal internet sales problems within the US as well as simplifying cross state border transactions and smuggling.

    Online game distribution are really unsafe, for example with Steam if you have a dispute over the payment for one game, they will lock you out of all your games regardless of the value difference (say the game in dispute is worth $10 and you have $1000 worth of games tied to them, tough that's just why extortion can work so well, the loss of being ripped off is far less than the penalty for not paying). This is of course what ultimately will always limit online game sales, corporations and their ass hat executives will simply not be able to resist tilting legal interpretations wildly in their favour (until class action law suits are filed).

    So real goods that are not remote controlled by corporate executives do provide a lot more legal protection for the consumer.

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